Rotor Transition Program | Helicopter to Fixed Wing Transition

Rotor Transition Program

As an experienced helicopter pilot, you’re in a position to rapidly begin a new career as a commercial airline pilot. Your unique combination of experience, discipline, and commitment makes you an extremely valuable pilot.

In AeroGuard’s Rotor to Fixed Wing Program in partnership with SkyWest Airlines, you’ll be able to complete all your training needed to transition into a career as a commercial airline pilot in as little as 4 months.


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Rotor Transition Requirements

Generally speaking, qualified helicopter pilots ready to begin the program already have a Commercial Certificate with Instrument Rating in rotorcraft helicopter and already meet total ATP minimum hour requirements. For those requirements, civilian helicopter pilots need a total of 1,500 hours flight time while those that completed their training in the military require 750 total hours. Because of this, the rotor transition curriculum is designed to provide the airplane specific requirements needed to receive the ATP certificate which are:

  • Commercial pilot certificate in airplane multi-engine land with instrument rating
  • 50 hours in airplane multi-engine land aircraft of which up to 25 hours can be completed during initial training at the airlines
  • 250 total hours of airplane PIC time

AeroGuard understands that it’s not always a one size fits all model. If a pilot does not meet all of the requirements listed above, or already has some fixed wing experience, AeroGuard can examine a pilot’s logbook and determine what they’ll need to be able to reach the ATP minimums. From there, the pilot will be able to enroll in a customized program that will allow them to move forward as a First Officer with the regional airlines.

Learn More about the Curriculum

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Rotor to Fixed Wing Accelerated Training Program

AeroGuard’s Rotor Transition Program (RTP) starts with converting your current licenses from rotorcraft to fixed wing. Within this program you would gain your fixed wing Private Pilot License, followed by Instrument Rating, in our standardized fleet of Piper Archers before then moving into the Commercial Multi-Engine certificate in the Piper Seminole. This process can be reviewed in depth on our RTP curriculum page.

This stage of training is estimated to take a total of 3 months to complete from beginning to end, after which you will meet 2 of the 3 of the commercial airline requirements, with your CPLME Certificate with Instrument Rating, as well as over 25 hours of multi engine aircraft time.

The Path to 250 Hours Airplane PIC

The final requirement for helicopter pilots to make the move to the commercial airlines is to have a total of 250 Hours of fixed wing PIC time. This requirement is an FAA minimum, however, and as students are evaluating their options, they would consider the best way to stand out in the hiring process at their future airline. There are several ways AeroGuard students can get this time;

  1. Graduated students with their CPLME can work for other commercial operations prior to the airlines, such as charter operations and 135 carriers.
  2. Students can buy or rent a plane, perhaps sharing time with another pilot
  3. Students can complete their CFI and train students – Recommended

Becoming a Certified Flight Instructor

Becoming a Certified Flight Instructor is the recommended path to gaining 250 Hours (or more) of PIC. This is a great way to not only get paid while earning your time in a readily available position, but also help you stand out for hire at the regional airlines. By training others to learn how to fly, you are able to prove that you not only made the transition from helicopter to fixed wing, but that you mastered the skill to the point that you can train others, setting you up for a successful career going forward.

At AeroGuard, this training consists of a Commercial Single Engine Add On, to then train for the CFI Initial in a Single Engine aircraft prior to the CFII and MEI.

AeroGuard & SkyWest Airlines Partnership

AeroGuard is partnered with SkyWest Airlines, provided a complete pathway from training to the commercial airlines. Airlines is the largest regional airline in the nation with 20 domiciles across the country, a great company culture and offers incredible career opportunities to their pilots.

During SkyWest hiring periods, students are able to interview for a conditional job offer with SkyWest as a First Officer prior to starting training with AeroGuard targeted toward a chosen SkyWest start date.

AeroGuard’s RTP accelerated program takes approximately 12-16 weeks

SkyWest Airlines First Officer pay begins day one of CTP training

SkyWest’s CTP training will take approximately 2-3 weeks

SkyWest’s indoctrination and jet training lasts approximately 8-10 weeks


Begin Your Career Today!